Activists call on Arab states to recognise Libyan rebels' council
Activists in Egypt called on Arab countries on Sunday to recognise the rebels' Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) as the conflict between the rebels and leader Moamer Gaddafi enters its third month.
Cairo-based activists of the February 17 coalition said that the slow pace of Arab countries in recognising the council as the only legitimate representative of the Libyan people had left thousands killed, dpa reported.
"We emphasize the need for the international community to interfere as soon as possible to spare civilians from the threat of genocide," wrote the coalition in a statement.
"We renew our call to all Arab countries to recognize the Interim Council as the sole legitimate representative of the people and to provide it with all the support that will help it carry out its mission in the liberation of Libya," said the statement, published by the opposition website Libya Al-Youm.
Qatar was the first Arab country to recognize the ITNC as the sole legitimate representative of the Libyan people.
The oil-rich Gulf state's have provided aircraft to the NATO-led coalition carrying out the United Nations resolution for a no-fly zone over Libya, aimed at protecting civilians from embattled Libyan leader Moamer Gaddafi's forces..
The Arab League has endorsed the no-fly zone, and both the United Arab Emirates and Jordan have pledged to offer "logistical support" to the mostly Western-led coalition.
Meanwhile French Defence Minister Gerard Longuet said that military operations over Libya could stretch on indefinitely, saying it is impossible to foresee what lies ahead with Libya and its leader.
"There's the risk that this war could take a while," said Longuet, in a report published Sunday by the Le Parisien newspaper.
He said he thinks it is possible to remove Gaddafi without putting international troops on the ground, even though he said that would be a "complicated mission."
"In Libya, we have an air war with no information from the ground. That is certainly a weakness, even if Gaddafi's army has fewer than 100,000 men," said Longuet.
The Council, based in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi, said earlier that NATO airstrikes have improved the protection of the local population. But the Western alliance's efforts to protect civilians should "be increased."
The European Union has sent an aid ship with 100 tons of supplies to the besieged city of Misurata, the UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM) Saturday. The EU ship will try to bring back as many evacuees as it can when it leaves. Currently there are about 7,000 waiting to get out of Misurata.
The IOM has already evacuated about 1,200 people, it reported, mostly women, children and the elderly. Many are hungry and dehydrated.
Misurata, a key city seen as a gateway to Tripoli, has been under attack for around two months, with rebels saying at least 1,000 have been killed there.